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ZACC blew US$33,3 million fighting corruption, but without any conviction

Loice Matanda-Moyo

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The Zimbabwe Anti-corruption Commission (ZACC) said it was allocated ZW$3,6 billion (about US$33,3 million) to fight graft in 2021 but no one has been convicted for corruption throughout the year.

Speaking at the 9th session of the conference of state parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNODC) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt last week, ZACC chairperson Justice Loyce Matanda-Moyo said government was continuing to support the work of the organisation and institutions mandated to fight corruption.

Even though ZACC has always been accused of “catch and release” syndrome where high profile people are arrested, released and never convicted, Matanda-Moyo said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government allocated ZW$3,6 billion (about US$33,3 million) to the commission to fight corruption.

“The government continues to support the work of Chapter 13 institutions mandated to fight corruption to ensure that they discharge their mandate professionally and effectively without any fear or favor.

“The thrust of the government’s strategy is to have coordinated and amplified efforts from all stakeholders which include the law enforcement agencies, the Judiciary, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), all government institutions and Parliament, private sector, civil society, media and the members of the public,” she said.

“In the year 2021, the government set aside ZW$3,6 billion (about US$33,3 million) for operations and capital requirements for all the institutions in the fight against corruption. For the coming year 2022, the government has increased the budgetary support for the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission by 300%.”

Nehanda Radio recently published an article saying Mnangagwa’s pledge to fight rampant corruption in Zimbabwe was being questioned following the acquittal of at least six high profile individuals in corruption cases in the space of just three months.

When Mnangagwa assumed power through a military coup that ousted the late former President Robert Mugabe in November 2017, he pledged to fight corruption by restructuring the ZACC and setting up the Special Anti-corruption Unit (SACU).

But no one has been convicted after being arrested.

In an interview with Nehanda Radio recently, political activist Pride Mkono said Mnangagwa’s government lacked the political will to fight graft.

“The acquittal of high ranking officials and politically connected persons is testimony of the catch and release policy by the Zanu PF government. There is zero political will to fight corruption because the biggest beneficiaries are those in government and the ruling party.

“It would not be shocking that some of these corrupt elements ‘donated’ to the ruling party ahead of the 2023 elections. The way forward is for citizens to mobilise and build resilience at grassroots level to be able to assert their rights. The corrupt must be exposed and shamed for their callous acts which destroy the country.” Nehanda Radio

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